Mom Sentenced to Life for Beheading 5-Year-Old After Asking for Cereal

Hayes County Sheriff's Office

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A mother, 27 years old at the time, who was accused of beheading her five-year-old daughter was sentenced to life in prison. Krystle Villanueva was arrested after authorities arrived at her home in Austin, Texas, where they discovered the mom had stabbed her daughter, Giovanna Hernandez, and then decapitated her.

Police were first notified by Villanueva’s father-in-law who was also stabbed in the head and the back by the mom, but managed to escape and run out of the house to call 911. After officers surrounded the home, Villanueva reportedly called 911 and told the operator that she had killed her daughter because “she asked for cereal.”

Krystle Villanueva

The SWAT team was able to break down the door in an attempt to save Giovanni but found Villanueva freshly showered and was naked in the front room. The child’s body was found stabbed and decapitated in her bedroom. According to Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler, after being a law enforcement officer for 43 years, 11 years as a homicide detective, this is one of the worst cases he’s ever been a part of.

Villanueva’s conviction of capital murder comes after a two-week trial, where her defense team argued that she was not guilty by reason of insanity. Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau stated, “Ms. Villanueva claimed that, at the time of the attacks, she had been under the delusional belief that her daughter and her father-in-law had been replaced by clones and had to be killed to bring back her real family members. While evidence indicated that Ms. Villanueva had been treated previously for mental problems, the prosecution pointed out that all such treatment coincided with prior drug abuse.”

Life in Prison or the Death Penalty?

At the time of her arrest, authorities noted her blood tested positive for the presence of alcohol and marijuana. Mau did note that a case like this leaves a very unforgettable mark on everyone that was involved, especially the child’s family.

He noted, “Every law enforcement member who worked on this case will forever be traumatized by what Ms. Villanueva did to her innocent daughter. I commend all the investigators and officers who endured this horror with calm professionalism so that justice could be done.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on March 9, 2020. 

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